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Classic Cars

Chevrolet Malibu Coming Up on 50 Years Since Introduction

The model tracks the fortunes of the American mid-size car

The Malibu name has been on cars since the 1964 Chevelle

The ChevroletChevroletChevroletUnited States of America, 1911 > present82 models
3565 photos
7 videos
MalibuMalibuChevrolet MalibuUnited States of America, 1964 > present8 series
40 versions
86 photos
is about to celebrate its 50th birthday. Chevy’s famous mid-size car was first introduced as the top trim package on the ChevelleChevelle Gen.1Chevrolet Chevelle Gen.1United States of America, 1964 > 19728 versions
1 photo
from 1964 to 1972.

The package gave buyers access to more body styles and higher quality interiors. It also gave the further option of specifying the SS super sport package that gave buyers sporty features like bucket seats, a center console and some of the top V8 engines that Chevrolet had to offer.

In later times, the Malibu was sometimes the only Chevelle trim available to buyers and finally in 1978 all mid-size Chevys were simply called MalibusMalibu Gen.4Chevrolet Malibu Gen.4United States of America, 1978 > 19832 versions
2 photos
.

The Malibu name tracks the evolution of mid-size American cars over the past half century. It starts with big cars with big engines and transforms into the odd styling and colors of the 70s. The fourth generation in 1978 shows the effects of the oil crisis with much smaller, lighter cars.

After 1982, the Malibu name was dropped in favor of the front-wheel drive CelebrityChevrolet CelebrityUnited States of America, 1982 > 19906 versions
as Chevrolet’s mid-size car. When the nameplate308 GTBFerrari 308 GTBItaly, 1979 > present1 photo
finally returned to 1997, the car market had changed, and the Malibu was taking on Japanese rivals. Since bringing the car back, the Malibu has been a more global vehicle by using common GMGMGMUnited States of America, 1998 > present8 models
240 photos
platforms.

Today, the MalibuChevrolet Malibu Gen.8Chevrolet Chevrolet Malibu Gen.8United States of America, 2012 > present15 versions
42 photos
is still Chevrolet’s mid-size offering but instead of the inline six and V8 engines from the original car, it is only available in the US with four-cylinder engines for the first time ever. The top engine now is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 259hp and 260lb-ft of torque.

Chevrolet Malibu First Generation

The Malibu was launched as the top trim of Chevrolet's mid-size Chevelle in 1964 and was available in body styles including a four-door sedan, two-door sedan, convertible and station wagon. It also allowed buyers to order the largest V8 engine options. The first generation ended in 1967 with the top engine being a 5.4-liter V8.

Chevrolet Malibu Second Generation

The second generation Malibu was introduced in 1968 and a new fastback body style was added. It was still the top trim on the Chevelle and allowed buyers to spec Chevy's 5.0-liter and 4.6-liter V8s. For 1970, all Chevelles got the Malibu name.

Chevrolet Malibu Third Generation

The third generation Malibu was introduced in 1973, and it became the mid-range trim on the new Chevelle. The pictured collonade hardtop was the new body style, which was mean to blend style and structural integrity. In 1974, Malibu again became the only name for the car. Production lasted until 1977.

Chevrolet Malibu Fourth Generation

The fourth generation Malibu debuted in 1978 and for the first time was badged as the Malibu for the entire model generation. The cars were significantly smaller and 1,000lb lighter depending on body style than the previous generation. It was offered as a coupe, sedan or wagon with two V6s and three V8s as engine options.

Chevrolet Malibu Fifth Generation

When the fourth generation ended in 1982, Chevrolet dropped the name for its mid-size cars until 1997. The new car was front-wheel with four- and six-cylinder engine options. Chevrolet hoped the Malibu would take on Japanese rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

Chevrolet Malibu Sixth Generation

In 2004, Chevrolet introduced the sixth generation that used the new Epsilon platform shared with the Opel Vectra. The station wagon body style returned as the Malibu Maxx.

Chevrolet Malibu Seventh Generation

Chevrolet brought the seventh generation Malibu to market in 2008 with the goal of being more competitive against the Japanese. It won North American Car of the Year in 2008. The six-speed automatic transmission was cited as major upgrade, and a hybrid was offered in 2009 and 2010.

Chevrolet Malibu Eighth Generation

The eighth generation Malibu went on sale in 2012 as a 2013 model year car. There is no V6 option in the car for the first time in the US, and the most powerful engine is now a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 259hp. So far, sales have been higher than the previous generation model.

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